Cameron Needham, Arthur Glen Hughes and Nicholas Paul Garcia star in A Skull in Connemara.

Photo Courtesy of Boise Contemporary Theater

Carie Kawa, Dwayne Blackaller and Matthew Cameron Clark perform in Narwhal! Unicorn of the Sea.

Photo Courtesy of Boise Contemporary Theater

Arthur Glen Hughes and Tracy Sunderland perform in Last of the Breed.

Photo Courtesy of Boise Contemporary Theater

Sara Bruner is Eva Le Galliene in The Physics of Regret.

Photo Courtesy of Boise Contemporary Theater

Stitch Marker, Carie Kawa and Matthew Cameron Clark star in The Uncanny Valley.

Photo Courtesy of Boise Contemporary Theater

Carie Kawa, Dwayne Blackaller and Matthew Cameron Clark perform in Narwhal! Unicorn of the Sea.

Photo Courtesy of Boise Contemporary Theater

Celebrating 20 Years of Arts in Idaho

The arts are thriving in BoDo — Boise, Idaho’s, trendy cultural district — thanks in part to the Boise Contemporary Theater, located in a refurbished seed warehouse on Fulton Street.

 

This once-traveling theater, founded in 1997, launched a capital campaign in 2000 to purchase and remodel its present home in the heart of downtown Boise amid the district’s unique restaurants and shops. The campaign’s success and overwhelming community support helped the company transform the warehouse into a stunning 231-seat, black-box theater where attendees sit close enough to feel part of the action.

Today, Boise Contemporary Theater is nationally recognized for producing and presenting professional theater. Its season runs from October to May with performances ranging from classics to captivating new works and Broadway favorites — like the recent sold-out production of its first musical, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

 

Playing the Part

Adam Park, the theater’s interim managing director, credits much of the company’s success to talented actors hired from around the country. “We conduct auditions in New York and Los Angeles and

also rely heavily on local talent,”

he says. “We tailor our actor selections to each production and always have phenomenal stars for every performance.”

Park also praises the set and costume designers: “We had talented designer Darrin Pufall design and build a lot of costumes for ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch,’ and he found creative ways to customize them to Boise.”

The Idaho community also recognizes the talent of Boise Contemporary Theater’s staff. Michael Baltzell, whose inventive set designs bring plays to life, won a prestigious Governor’s Award in the Arts in 2016 for his work at Boise Contemporary Theater and other local theaters.

 

Season of Success

Perhaps the best marker of the theater’s success is in the numbers. “When we first started, we did three performances a year, but now we’ve expanded to four or five,” Park says.

This season’s final show is “The Clean House,” a mature comedy by playwright Sarah Ruhl about the havoc wreaked when married doctors hire a Brazilian comedian as their housekeeper. The play, which is not recommended for children, runs April 21 to May 6 with a preview performance on April 19 that serves as a final dress rehearsal.

Tickets to all of Boise Contemporary Theater’s Wednesday previews are pay-what-you-wish, so everyone has a chance to attend, regardless of their budget. “This new policy attracts college students and those who can’t afford it normally,” Park says. On other nights, ticket prices range from $18 to $36. Its new three-ticket Flex Packages are available for $99, and tickets can be used all at once for a single show or individually for three performances.

For those desiring a VIP experience, Boise Contemporary Theater offers one box seat a night, which includes seating for six, a couch for watching in comfort, two bottles of wine and a delectable cheese plate. Pricing for the box varies show-by-show and ranges from $246 to $300.

Whether you enjoy classics, contemporaries or Broadway hits, Boise Contemporary Theater is Idaho’s place for professional theater. As for next season’s schedule, Parks likes to keep the audience in suspense. “There’s nothing we can announce yet,” he says. “We generally do that in the spring, preferably before our final show of the season.”

By Jenny Willden

Photos courtesy of Boise Contemporary Theater